I spent my morning on Facebook trying to communicate with a super-bitter, misogynistic geek guy with a chip on his shoulder the size of Rhode Island and talking points straight out of Elliot Rodger’s manifesto.
I was going to write today about ADHD and messiness and the illusion of control in the goal of perfect efficiency and predictability, but instead I am brimming over with sadness for the kind of hurt, the smallness of heart and experience, that leads to the brittle hostility I saw today.
There’s so much I’d like to say about this. As with yesterday’s post, I can see clearly the hurt, pain, and confusion that underlies these toxic responses to the contradictions young men grow up with, the different ideas of worth and masculinity and identity that clash with one another and with the experiences and struggles of the women they later encounter.
It would be easier if I could write off these poisonous strains of misogyny as either evidence of the desperation of a dying, malevolent breed or as a understandable and justifiable response to an unfair, man-hating society.But I can’t. Neither of those responses are adequate. The first dismisses the painful and frustrated experiences of these men too lightly; the second takes as granted a power inversion that simply isn’t so cut and dried, while dismissing the real inequities women still face on multiple levels.
What I see is this: There is no “us” and “them.” There are people, and some of them are hurt. And the people that hurt them were usually hurt themselves.
Hurting people hurt people. The cycle of hurt has no winners. The “war of the sexes” has no victory to hope for. It’s a grim scrabble for the smallest scraps of control in a world which eludes control.
But there’s a dark kind of fierce satisfaction the devil tempts us to in making prophecies of misery that fulfil themselves in the very uttering. It’s drinking poison to spite another.
And I don’t have an answer to that.
Go away, Satan. What you offer us is evil. Drink your poison yourself.
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